Ascent of Mount Ascutney on 2008-09-28

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Sunday, September 28, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Ascutney
    Elevation:3130 ft / 954 m

Ascent Trip Report

From I-91, I took exit 8 onto VT-131 and headed E. Zero your odometer at the interchange. At 0.4 miles I turned L (N) on US-5. At 1.6 miles I turned L onto VT-44A. At 2.4 miles VT-44A crosses over I-91 on a bridge with no interchange. At 2.6 miles I turned left into the Ascutney State Park. A sign nearby said the summit road closes at 6:30 PM. I paid the $3 park entry fee at a small building immediately to the right of the entrance and received a park map showing many trails. Straight across an intersection from here it is 3.7 more miles up the summit road to a parking area.

The park is developed, there are many trails in the vicinity of the summit, and they are all well-signed. I made a loop hike, going first to a hang glider launch site W of the main summit, then to the summit itself via the Weathersfield Trail. The highest natural ground is a rock slab near some radio towers. A tourist observation tower is a couple hundred feet north. Unfortunately a torrential downpour precluded any view for me. I returned to the summit parking area via the Slab Trail. Total distance was 1.6 miles, 350' elev gain.

There are several trails that climb Mt Ascutney from roads elsewhere around the base of the mountain, with starting points other than the main part of the park. All of these avoid the (albeit small) $3 entrance fee and would be the way to go in better weather than what I had; they would transform the near drive-up and short hike to a better quality half day hike. These are:

Windsor Trail. From the main entrance of the park, go 1.6 miles N on VT-44A and find the trailhead on the left. If you reach VT-44, you've gone 0.2 miles too far. Trail is 2.7 miles, 2500 EG to summit.

Brownsville Trail. Continue past the Windsor trailhead another 0.2 miles to VT-44, turn L, and go 1.2 miles to the trailhead on the left. Trail is 3.2 miles, 2400' EG to summit.

Weathersford Trail. From the interchange of I-91 and and VT-131, go 3.2 miles W on VT-131 to Cascade Falls Rd on the R. Turn onto Cascade Falls Rd, which is hard packed dirt, go 0.1 mile, turn L on High Meadow Rd, go 0.4 mile, turn R in front of a house, and go 0.1 mile to TH. Trail is 2.9 miles, 2100' EG to summit.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:335 ft / 103 m
    Elevation Loss:335 ft / 103 m
    Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:335 ft / 103 m
    Distance:0.9 mi / 1.5 km
    Route:Hang glider launch site / Weathersfield Trail
    Trailhead:Summit parking lot  2795 ft / 851 m
    Time Up:30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:335 ft / 103 m
    Distance:0.7 mi / 1.1 km
    Route:Slab Trail
    Trailhead:Summit parking lot  2795 ft / 851 m
    Time Down:20 Minutes

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